Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Farewell, Level 4!

Last weekend, Tessa and I, along with Stephanie and Oliver, took another trip out to Orchard Hills in Barto, PA, for a CPE trial.

Although it is now winter, and no longer the glorious fall, the weather was absolutely lovely, and we had a really nice day.

The trial was a little bit smaller than the one I attended out there back in October, and we were actually able to get crate space in the crating area (instead of in the aisle!).  We were right near the door, but Tessa doesn't mind a bit of foot traffic going by her at all.

Our first run was Colors.  We don't actually need any more Colors for our C-ATCH, but I am signing up for it from time to time just because Tessa and I enjoy it.  We are working toward our Colors Championship, for which we need 15 Q's at Level 5.  Prior to this trial, we had six of those.

Our Colors run was just perfection.  Really, about the loveliest run it could possibly be.

She did a couple of really nice rear crosses, her weaves were solid, and she really didn't miss a beat.

It was a Q!  Her 7th at Level 5 in Colors.

Snooker was our "big" run of the day.  A Q in Snooker would . . . finally . . . finish off Level 4 for us in every category.

Granted, it is not that we have struggled to get out of Level 4 in Snooker, as we did, just a bit, in Wildcard and Jackpot. I simply hadn't entered the class in quite some time.

The Snooker course was . . . different.  The judge had the whole course smoshed onto one side of the ring.  One "red" jump was down at the far end, but the other three were set in a pinwheel formation clear down at the other end.  There just wasn't a really nice way to do the "red" - "color" - "red" - "color" - etc. opening with those three jumps bunched together like that.

I made a plan that I thought was going to work out well, and it might of had I not made a small, but significant, handling error!!

Our plan was to take the innermost "red" of the pinwheel, which would set us up well to take a tunnel right in front of Tessa.  Then I needed to call her past a jump that would be behind me, and from there I would send her to the back of the far "red" jump, which would set her up perfectly to take the weaves, and then take the "red" all the way down at the other end, and then the A-Fame would be directly ahead, and that would shoot us right into the closing course.

We started out great!  Everything went according to plan for the first three obstacles.  But I was so focused on calling her past the jump behind me after the tunnel that I sent her to the front side, not the back side, of the "red" jump at the other end.  Tessa, very naturally, went around to another jump, instead of coming past that one to go to the weaves.

Well, in Snooker, that's it.  We either had to commit to the "color" that Tessa had begun (the three jump combination that she started by taking that jump), or we would be whistled off.

My handling of the three jump combo was sloppy, and at the end of it, Tessa almost ran smack into me.  But we managed it!!

Then I had to call her past the weaves to get down to the other end of the ring!  She wanted those weaves!

But after that it was clear sailing!!  At the very end I forgot to cue the A-Frame, but that didn't matter - we had enough points without it!!

That was a crazy run, but we did it!  We got the Q!!!

And with that W, Tessa and I finally finished Level 4!

Tessa is now:  Tessa, CL4 (among other titles!)

In spite of the fact that I had to think fast during that run, and it wasn't all pretty, Snooker is still my favorite game!  I love the challenge that it presents.

Our last run of the day was Jackpot, and it was a non-Traditional!  Yay!!

The judge called this Jackpot "It's Yer Choice".  There was no distance in it at all - it was all about points.

As usual, every piece of equipment in the ring had a point value, but for each category of points (example, the 3 point obstacles), there was a different, higher, point value assigned the first time you took it.  There was an opening and a closing, and you had to attempt, and successfully complete, at least one piece of equipment in each category (to get the extra points) during the opening in order to qualify.  In addition, you had to accumulate enough points, throughout the entire run, to Q at your level.

I don't enjoy this kind of strategy in the same way that I enjoy Snooker-style strategy, but I came up with a plan and we ran it.  

It went very well, and we did qualify!!  Captions on the video show the points.

That was our first Level 5 Jackpot Q!!  Just four more to go now!!

It was such a nice day, and Tessa seemed to enjoy herself just as much as I did.  We ran our courses, took walks with Stephanie and Oliver, enjoyed food from the on-site vendor, and really just had a great day together.

Now we are getting so close to our C-ATCH!!  We just need:

2 Standard
1 Fullhouse
3 Wildcard
5 Snooker
4 Jackpot

A total of 15 Q's!!!  I can't believe we are where we are.  And I can't believe we are enjoying the ride so much!!  

Tessa is the best Agility girl in the entire world and there isn't another dog on this earth I would want to be taking this ride with!!

Congrats, Tessa, CL4!

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